Blinded By The Nukes?

by Patrick Appel

Joe Klein isn't very worried by Iran's nuclear program:

This emphasis on the nuclear issue is disproportionate. Iran is allowed to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The latest National Intelligence Estimate suggests that Iran doesn't have a nuclear-weapons program although it once did, and could easily resume weaponization at any time. But let's assume the worst: say Iran is working on a bomb; say it acquires one in the next few years. Only Benjamin Netanyahu and assorted American neoconservatives believe or pretend to believe that Iran might actually use it, given Israel's overpowering ability to strike back. Most observers think that the Iranians would hold their weapon as a deterrent even Rafsanjani, in his "Islamic bomb" speech, posited that the weapon would create a regional "stalemate." To be sure, an Iranian bomb would not be a good thing. It might launch a Middle Eastern arms race among Iran's Sunni rivals in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. But it would not be cataclysmic, either unless Obama decided to pre-empt it militarily. In any case, the question is, Does the President really want to paint himself into this corner? Does he want to face the possibility of going to war or, more likely, retreating from his insistence on a bomb-free Iran?